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Steeple Newsletter

First Church Reads: Sudden Sea

by The Rev. Jake Miles Joseph on May 06, 2020

"First Church Reads" is a new feature section of the Steeple where staff members or members of the church may be invited to offer book and formation recommendations that specifically help deepen spiritual life. Jake offers an unusual suggestion this week: 

Hurricane was a foreign word in New England. People didn’t know how to pronounce it. They didn’t know what it meant, and whatever it meant, they were sure it couldn’t happen to them, until September 21, 1938…Back then, New England was as much a cultural region as a geographic one. Independence and integrity were prized virtues with modesty a close third.  
R. A. Scotti, Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, 22-25. 
Sometimes, history is the best teacher to remind us that we are not alone—especially in times of the unexpected, unprecedented, and shocking! This week, rather than recommend a theology book, my recommendation goes to R. A. Scotti’s 2003 Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. This was the same unpredicted (the science and the politics of the time weren’t prepared for something they thought was impossible) storm that took down First Church’s Steeple…laying it across Church Street. Someone then walked off with our original weathervane. If you find it in your garage… please do return it. 
Scotti passionately explains how this moment forever changes our region culturally, physically, and emotionally. New England would never be the same again after this monster storm. The author also spends a lot of time exploring politics and systems of denial that brought the hurricane to our shores and cities without a single forecast. While there were warnings, they were ignored. 
What lessons can we learn from this surprise disaster of the past about our own New England resilience, the need for community, and what we can expect in the time of rebuilding to come?

Did you know that both Breakwater Books in Guilford (203) 453-4141 and R.J. Julia Books in Madison (203) 245-3959 offer call-to-order book pick-up? Help us support our neighbors and book sellers. 

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